A new study suggests that ostracism, or being excluded or ignored, had a worse effect on an employee's physical and mental well-being compared to harassment or bullying.
Researchers found that while most consider ostracism less harmful than bullying, feeling excluded is significantly more likely to lead to job dissatisfaction, quitting and health problems.
The researchers used a series of surveys for their study. First they determined that people consistently rate workplace ostracism as less socially inappropriate, less psychologically harmful and less likely to be prohibited than workplace harassment.
Additional surveys revealed that people who claimed to have experienced ostracism were significantly more likely to report a degraded sense of workplace belonging and commitment, a stronger intention to quit their job, and a larger proportion of health problems.
The researchers also took an employment survey by a Canadian university that included feedback on feelings of workplace isolation and harassment and compared it to turnover rates three years after the survey was conducted and found that people who reported feeling ostracized were significantly more likely to have quit.
The study is set to be published in the journal Organization Science.